Recently, Olive from the YouTube channel ABookOlive shared her criteria for picking her favourite books and eventually shared her favourite book of all time (for now). This got me thinking about how I rate my books
Recently, Olive from the YouTube channel ABookOlive shared her criteria for picking her favourite books and eventually shared her favourite book of all time (for now). This got me thinking about how I rate my books, what makes them my favourite and recommendation-worthy ( *cough* shove down other people’s throats *cough* ).
Well, after consulting my Goodreads bookshelf, I discovered that I am definitely a mood reader and even though I may get my hands on the titles that are making rounds on booktube or bookstagram, I will pick them up when I feel it is the “right time” for me to read them. In most cases, the book themes turn out to be quite serendipitous. It also helps when the authors are able to reel me in and transport me to a particular time period and I am able to connect with the characters. For non-fiction, the author should be able to not just present the facts in a logical manner but carefully weave in anecdotes that help me understand their train of thought. Finally, the story’s staying power also matters. I should be able to remember the story weeks after I have read the books and that makes them recommendation-worthy because they are top of mind.
So without much further ado, here are my favourite books of 2017 as of June 2017:
If you have been keeping up with Business/Psychology non-fiction genre or a TED talk junkie, then Adam Grant is certainly not a stranger. In Give and Take, Wharton’s youngest tenured professor examines the psychology of generosity which led him to group people into four categories: givers, takers, matchers and fakers. I am glad that I read a book that addresses generosity burn-out, especially in careers that centre on the “personal touch” such as nursing, caregiving, teaching and volunteering which are commonly regarded as callings and also commonly underappreciated.Moreover, it is something that I have personally struggled with. Though they are in different fields, if you are familiar with the works of Cal Newport and Ryan Holiday, I believe that you are likely to enjoy Adam Grant’s work.
If there are words that sum up this book, they have to be, a pleasant surprise. I bought The Gilded Years at an Inama Bookshop (if you are Nairobi you probably know the one behind National Archives, outside Tuskys) at a 100 bob, (less than £1 at current exchange rate) without any prior knowledge of the author and trusted the back of the book blurb. I was intrigued with a storyline involving a young African-American woman who was able to pass a Caucasian in order to attend Vassar College at the turn of the 20th Century. You can read my full review here. I had never heard about mixed-race Americans who are referred to as “High Yellows” and was educated about this part of American Industrial Revolution that I had never heard about.
I have also reviewed this book here but let me fill you in. This memoir documents Andrea’s study abroad year in Oxford where she gets to reexamine her faith and values away from her Christian comfort zone. I have to let you know that it is worthwhile to read if you are going through moments of doubting your faith, or perhaps you are living alone abroad and you need someone to hold your hand.
I was keen to find out what else Lynn Austin had to offer after I had read Fire by Night, a few years ago. This stand alone novel takes the reader through the lives of three orphaned sisters migrating to the United States to escape the hardships in Sweden. This is a beautiful coming of age story of three girls navigating their lives while clinging to their faith in a foreign land. Lynn Austin is a gifted storyteller and I could not put this book down for too long. Apart from the overarching faith-based themes, I learnt about migration into the America at the turn of the 20th Century.
Note: This is not a sponsored post but I purchased my copy at Keswick Bookshop Nairobi, CBD on sale at KES 300. I believe there were still a few copies left.
What are your favourite books of 2017 so far?
Photo Credit: Eugenio Mazzone via Unsplash